back in the saddle again.

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{for le blog aesthetic // not mine}

NaNoWriMo 2017. Day One.

This year feels different. I have less of a plan than usual (not to be confused with the time I wrote a NaNo novel starting only with characters and no plot whatsoever), but this is a story that’s been tumbling around my head for the past ten years.

Obviously, it looks different than what I first thought it was going to look like, but that’s okay. It’s deeper now, and more fleshed out – not to mention I’m actually able to write a lot of it based on personal experience.

If any of you remember those two scenes I wrote for school last semester about the little foster care boy… yeah, this is that story.

My Pinterest board for this story is now public, and I’ll be updating via this blog hopefully once a week. However, I’m starting a new job in a week and I’m the lead in a play, so bear with me if I forget.

I’m super excited about this project – almost more so than anything else I’ve done – and I can’t wait to share it with you guys!

(PS: It’s called The Boy and the Theatre Girl.)

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story snippet | the boy and the theatre girl.

(This story’s been tumbling around in my mind for years, and I think it’s the next thing I’m going to work on.  I’ve started a secret Pinterest board for it, which I’ll be making public sometime in the nearish future.  Anyway, I submitted this snippet and another for a course and got good grades on both of them, which made me super happy.  The first snippet can be found here.  Oh and the main character is a 13-year-old boy named Zach.  Enjoy!)

I flop backwards on my bed and stare at the ceiling.

Emilie’s gone.

I won’t see her ’til Thanksgiving. Maybe before then, if she finds a free weekend to come visit, but plane tickets are expensive and I don’t have enough money to pay for her to come.

I start thinking about school and how I’ll handle the next school year without her and that I’ll have to handle it all by myself and if I’ll be able to get good grades or if I’ll just barely pass all of my classes again like before and my chest starts heaving and my heart starts pounding and I have to close my eyes and think of the ocean for a few minutes before I can calm down.

Mrs. Parker knocks on my door after a while and asks if I want any dinner but I don’t say anything. I’ve lost my voice. Again.

“It’ll be on the table in twenty minutes if you want it,” she says. A few seconds later, she says, “I’m here if you want to talk or just need somebody to sit with.”

I wish I could tell her how much I appreciate it. I wish I could just open the door and hug her and cry and let her hug me back and talk about everything I’m stressing out about.

But I can’t.

My voice is gone again and I don’t know where to find it.

“I’ll come check on you again in a little while.”

I nod, even though I know she can’t see it. She walks away after a moment and I’m alone.

I trace the constellations on the ceiling with my gaze. They’ve been up there for almost a year now, and haven’t moved a fraction of an inch since. I wish my life were like that – predictable and settled, instead of erratic and unreliable.

Tears start to well up in my eyes as a lump forms in the back of my throat.

No.

I flip over, grab my notebook, and start writing before I let myself sink any further. I spill my thoughts across the page, somehow focusing through blurry vision. Sentences are scratched out, arrows drawn to switch things around, words are circled and starred. Even as I write, I’m struck by how much better this is than trying to write it out on the computer. “Your mind works too quickly for the computer to keep up,” Emilie once told me. I realize she was right.

As I start on my fourth page, I finally start to feel the words ebb away. The lump is gone, and only one tear smudged the page. I hit the middle of the sixth page and realize I’m done, so I flip back to the beginning and start copying the poem on fresh pages, revising it slightly, but trying to leave it clean and readable.

I’ll send it to her in my first letter, I decide. And then she can tape it on her dorm wall and it’ll remind her of me.

I finish copying out the poem and read over it twice. I’m satisfied with how it turned out, but it’s not the kind of poem to make me smile. Not like the last one I sent her. That one was borne out of good feelings. This one’s not.

I close my notebook, roll over to my back, and hug it to my chest as I stare at the constellations again. The moonlight streaming through the window dimly lights the room, but the stars on the ceiling are shining brightly. I’m glad Emilie put them there. I can’t see the real stars outside because of the city lights, but these are good enough.

A while later, my phone buzzes. I consider leaving it, but then I remember that it might be Emilie. I grab it and turn it on, and my heart jumps when I realize it is her. She’s sent me her new address, along with a heart and a “Write soon – I can’t wait to talk to you again. Miss you already!!!”

I take a shaky breath as tears burn my eyes. This time, though, they’re happy tears. I smile and close my eyes, letting them overflow. The thought that someone wants to hear from me – and even misses me – makes my heart and mind soar. I’ve never known love to be this huge.

I hug the notebook tighter and let myself cry.

story snippet | the boy and the theatre girl.

I’m back with another story snippet from my writing course.  Again, this is all I have (so far), but you’d better get used to this story, kids, because I think this is the one I want to flesh out.  What do you think?


The Boy and the Theatre Girl

I haven’t spoken a word since the day my mom died in my arms. I’m only twelve, but I’ve already seen more than anyone needs to see in their entire life. I can’t watch war movies now. Can’t stand fireworks. Can’t be around a police officer with a gun. (Especially the one who came to bring me to my first foster parents’ home. That made for an interesting afternoon.)

Don’t get me wrong – I can talk. I just don’t want to. It was my stupid talking that altered the burglar to our presence and I’m not making a mistake like that ever again.

Besides. It’s not like I have anything interesting to say anymore.

They’re bringing me to my next foster family tonight. We were supposed to meet at a park, but then they found out that there’s this huge parade at the park and thought it’d be best to avoid that. They know me. They know what I do.

As I pack my things, I wonder for the thousandth time why the Kellers can’t keep me. They’re the fifth family who’s given me up. I know why, but I refuse to believe that it’s just my unwillingness to talk. There must be something else wrong with me. I’m pretty stupid, too – I haven’t gotten a B in any school subject in three years. Scraping along with Cs and Ds is my life now.

That’s probably what it is, I think to myself, shoving my t-shirts in my suitcase. They don’t want a stupid foster kid. All their children are prodigies and I’m… the opposite.

“Almost ready to go?”

I freeze, then turn and nod.

Mr. Keller smiles. “Great.”

He taps his fingers on the doorframe and take three deep breaths. I wait.

“Listen…” He pauses, then continues, avoiding my eyes the entire time. “I know it’s been hard for you. Pretty rough, what you went through. And I’m sorry we can’t keep you.” He looks at me now with a sad smile. “But I hope you do well in this new family. I know you will. They’re a sweet family. Stay in touch, okay?”
I nod once, then turn around again and continue packing. I feel Mr. Keller’s presence behind me for a while but ignore him, hoping he’ll go away. He does, eventually, leaving me with my thoughts.

Great.

My thoughts overtake me for the rest of the afternoon, the silent drive with Mr. Keller to the new foster family’s house, and even on their front doorstep. Mr. Keller rings the bell and I stand there, holding the handle of my suitcase with one hand and my messenger bag with the other, my thoughts flying all around my brain and smacking the sides like demonic butterflies.

What will I do now? Will this new family like me? Will I be good enough for them? Will my grades get better so they like me more than anybody else has?

As soon as the door opens, the demonic butterfly thoughts freeze and it’s as if my heart freezes with them.

Whoa.

“Hey!” the girl says, beaming like a goddess. “Mom and Dad went out to get ice cream, then they got stuck in traffic, so it’s just me. You can come on in,” she continues, pulling the door open all the way and standing partially behind it. She looks down the driveway at the car. “Anybody else?”

“No, it’s just us,” Mr. Keller replies, stepping inside.

I barely notice this interaction. It’s taking all of my self-control to not just drop my jaw and stare at the girl for the rest of my life. I yank my suitcase over the threshold and rack my brain, trying to remember her name and wishing I’d paid more attention to the social worker.

Speaking of, where is she?

“Oh, good; you made it,” I hear Janet say right before she appears behind the girl.

I let out a string of curses in my mind and avoid Janet’s eyes.

“You can put your stuff over here,” the girl says to me.

I’m still trying to get over the fact that she spoke to me as she leads me to the family room down the hall. I set my suitcase against the wall and set my messenger bag on top of it.

“Is this all you have?” the girl asks, a hint of sadness in her voice.

I fiddle with the strap of my bag while I try to figure out what she means by that. Before I can shrug or nod, she puts her hand out.

“I’m Emilie.”

I take it, look up at her, and nod.

She smiles brightly and the butterflies materialize in my stomach.

“I’ve been looking forward to meeting you, Zach.”

I try to smile back at her, but it probably looks more like a grimace. I’ve got to get better at that.

“I asked Mom and Dad if you could be in the room across the hall from me. I hope that’s not weird…?”

I shake my head firmly, the only thing going through my mind being SHE’S STILL HOLDING MY HAND.

“Great!” She lets go of my hand, grins, and opens her mouth to say something else, but is interrupted by the door opening. She turns, leans over a little to check, and smiles at me. “That’s Mom and Dad.”

I follow her down the hall, focusing only on her cherry red hair. I’ve never seen anything that resembles fire that much except, well… fire.

She stops in front of the man and woman – obviously her parents – and holds out a hand towards me.

“Mom, Dad – this is Zach.”

She smiles over her shoulder at me and I know I’m done for.

Uh oh.